Tag Archives: Flood

Hyper nationalism can wait, Kashmiris need succour first

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A natural disaster of apocalyptic proportions has hit Kashmir. It is unprecedented in recent memory across three generations and has left tens of thousands marooned besides destroying vital infrastructure. The extent of the human toll is unclear. Reports of floating bodies and those trapped inside collapsed houses makes it a frightening scenario. Almost all major hospitals have been affected and practically dysfunctional. The ones which worked were fast running out of life-saving drugs, painkillers, food and water. Near total power and communications breakdown has complicated relief work. Even after the water recedes, Kashmir would suffer physical, economic and psychological consequences of the disaster for years to come.

Yet it seems to business as usual – dehumanizing Kashmiris — for certain people even in the midst of the catastrophe that has directly affected an estimated 60% people. It is the same old ‘good us’ versus ‘evil them’ subtext — based on chronic disinformation — that is playing out even in the sections of the mainstream media. It is been much worse on the social media. Nauseating trolling has become even more vicious in the name of exclusivist nationalism, which has no place for the monolithic other like Kashmiris. Abuse and sadistic pleasure being drawn from the colossal damage to human life and property has been very distressing particularly for non-resident Kashmiris, who have relied on social media to find out the fate of their loved ones caught in killer flood waters.

Continue reading Hyper nationalism can wait, Kashmiris need succour first

Who gets to certify “caste based” discrimination?

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Hint: It is not the forward community.

I moved this up as a separate article since this is something I feel very strongly about. The Pakistani forward community (as evidenced from BP members) has sworn hand on heart that “caste based discrimination” does not exist in Pakistan. This is because they say so, thus it must be the truth. The reality it seems is something else altogether.

Ms. Kalavanti Raja of Sindh-Pakistan, the active member of Sindhiyani Tahreek presented the case of Pakistani Dalits in International Consultation Meeting of IDSN in Nepal which got a huge importance and space in international IDSN Publication as detailed below.

Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) has been instrumental in raising public awareness of caste discrimination in Pakistan in 2011 and creating a stir in the media. Media reports on caste discrimination have included issues such as bonded labour, untouchability, kidnapping and forced conversions of Dalits.

Media have also reported widely on discrimination in flood relief work in Pakistan following new monsoon rains, causing one of recent history’s worst disasters. Dalit communities were denied access to relief camps because of their caste and were forced to live under the open sky. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits in the on-going flood relief work saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste is unacceptable. Nonetheless the discrimination continued throughout 2011. PDSN has worked to support Dalit victims of the flooding and bring their plight to the attention of authorities, International NGOs and agencies involved in relief operations.

2011 also saw an increased visibility of Dalit women in Pakistan and Ms. Kalavanti Raja joined PDSN as Coordinator of the women’s wing of the network. Ms. Raja participated in several events, including the Dalit Women’s conference in Kathmandu, a South Asian Dalit conference in Bangladesh, and the IDSN International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination and council meeting in Nepal, where PDSN Coordinators also took part. She spoke at several events and monitored Pakistani media attention to the issue of caste discrimination, with regular updates to IDSN on the situation.

Continue reading Who gets to certify “caste based” discrimination?

Excerpt of Naseer Memon oped published in Sindhi Daily Kawish on the issue of controversail local govt. law

Creation of Metropolitan Corporations

· Government will create Divisional Head Quarter of Karachi, Hyderabad , Sukkur, Larkano and Mirpurkhas as Metropolitan Corporations But Karachi Metropolitan will be consist of five districts [Note: only Karachi is different from all other Metropolitan all other metro will be consists of only one district while Karachi five]

According to 1998 census MQM has only majority in two districts out of five. If Karachi Metro consists of five District Councils then MQM can have control on only two district councils and they cannot even win mayor ship of Karachi Metro! So MQM knowingly using this Ordinance created Karachi Metro based on five districts instead of 18 towns.

· Union Council boundaries with in the Metro area cannot stretch into any Talku or town

Please note that this doesn’t apply to Town boundaries, there are 5 districts and 18 towns are in Karachi. 18 towns were created in dictator Gen. Musharaf period gerrymandering so that MQM elect their Mayor. It was not possible before since out five districts MQM can only elect two districts only.

This also shows that Karachi is different from other Metro areas.

· Through this ordinance Mayor and Chairman have authority to remove encroachment and maintain peace using Criminal Procedure Code 109, 133, 143, 144 and 145 under the Police act of 1861 and under section 30A-34B. Also they have section 144 under their authority.

Using this authority MQM Bulldoze any Sindhi area, do not allow any political rally and activity, remove any flood relief camps etc.

· Using their financial resources councils have authority to create any new department

Obviously only Karachi and Hyderabad has revenue to create any new department. We already had seen how MQM created city police by recruiting its entire party worker. Rest assured how will these departments server the city.

· Using this ordinance Deputy Commissioner office becomes irrelevant and all the powers are transferred to Chief Officer, who reports to Metro Government. Only revenue matters left to DC office but Karachi will be different again.

Now you can imagine how MQM will utilize Chief Officer Office.

· Financial grant of Metro based on its financial needs, revenue potential and revenue generation

In other words since Karachi and Hyderabad generate most the revenue hence they need more money and rest of Sindh will go to hell. There is no parity for poverty which considers in federal divisible pool.

· Using this Ordinance there are many departments moved to Metro area but most consequential are primary education and fisheries

If Karachi metro can regulate primary education it means the small number of Sindhi medium school running will be closed and there will be no new sindhi medium school will open. Also fisheries department transferred to Karachi Metro mean they will regulate all the harbors where majority of Balochs and Sindhi currently works. They will also not allow any new fishermen housing society in future.

· Military dictator Gen. Musharaf police Ordinance only reactivated in Karachi only, rest of Sindh will still in 1861 act

Courtesy: Sindhi daily Kawish, 05 October, 2012

Via – World Sindh Congress (WSC) facebook wall.

Hundreds killed in Pakistan flooding

By the CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Floods resulting from monsoon rains have killed 422 people and left nearly 3,000 injured across Pakistan, a disaster agency spokesman said Saturday.

Some 350,000 people have been forced from their homes and another 4.7 million people affected by the flooding since August 22, Ahmed Kamal of the National Disaster Management Authority said.

More than 15,000 villages have been affected and many houses destroyed or damaged in the past five weeks, he said.

Pakistan has suffered a series of devastating inundations, affecting millions of people, in recent years.

Pakistan, India hit by deadly flooding

Flooding last year killed 470 people and impacted 9.1 million others, Kamal said.

In the worst-affected area of Sindh province, in southeastern Pakistan, the waters submerged more than 4.5 million acres of farming land, damaging an estimated 80% of cash crops.

Continue reading Hundreds killed in Pakistan flooding

Sindh succeeds in wooing US aid for schools, flood victims

SINDH – KARACHI – The hard work of the Sindh government to rehabilitate flood-affected schools has reaped benefits. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has agreed to provide an additional funding of $4 million to the province for further enhancement of flood damaged schools.

USAID was providing the Sindh government with a total of $155 million to support the education sector in Sindh under the Sindh Basic Education Programme.

Under the said programme, the flood-affected schools would be reconstructed in various districts including Khairpur, Dadu, Jacobabad, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Sukkur, Larkana, Kashmore-Kandhkot, and Karachi.

The Sindh Education Programme will also support in enhancing reading literacy in schools, alleviating malnourishment in children and provide technical assistance to departments in order to increase their capacity. The total funding for this venture is $155 million, sources told Pakistan Today.

The goal of the Sindh Basic Education programme is to increase and sustain student enrolment in primary, middle and secondary schools in targeted geographical location in Sindh…..

Read more » Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/07/07/city/karachi/sindh-succeeds-in-wooing-us-aid-for-schools-flood-victims/

‘Low-caste Hindus facing discrimination in relief distribution’

Low-caste Hindus in Sindh are faced with discrimination in the flood relief distribution programmes initiated by the government in the affected areas, observed Upgrade Minorities for Integrated Development (UMID), an NGO, at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club here on Tuesday. Pakistan has a population of three million Hindu …

Read more » The News

“Innocents Die, Vultures Dance with Joy”

By Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia.

And, this is the reality in this country known as ‘Pakistan,’ where poverty-stricken, shirtless, shelter-less and loaf-less innocents are dying under the open skies and the voracious vultures have a field day and greedily feast on the bodies of the dead.

A large number of people affected by last year’s heavy monsoon rains took out a procession in Samaro town on Wednesday, calling upon the government to provide them permanent shelter, food, health and education facilities to enable them to lead a normal life again. Who will hear their wails and screams of help?

Continue reading “Innocents Die, Vultures Dance with Joy”

Rs3.65bn for 2010 flood victims yet to be spent

By Bhagwandas

KARACHI: The Sindh government has not yet spent even a single penny from the Rs1.15 billion it has received from the Central Zakat Fund in addition to the Rs2.5 billion allocated by Sindh for the reconstruction of houses damaged or destroyed in the 2010 floods, said Sindh Zakat and Ushr Minister Sajid Jokhio on Monday. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

A critique on Disaster Politics.

By Jamil Junejo and Muhammad Younis.

Two writers Alastair Smith and Alejandro Quiroz Flores have put forward an interesting theory regarding link between politics and effects of disasters in their article “Disaster politics” published in July of this year by the Foreign Affairs Magazine. They have argued that democratic states are better than autocratic governments at protecting their citizens from the effects of natural disasters. The writers have, moreover, contemplated on the post disasters effects on the political landscape of the countries. They have exemplified their stance with various instances of diverse disasters. However, both aspects of the writup need a critical review to weigh the merits of the arguments and to pinpoint its strong and grey areas.

Continue reading A critique on Disaster Politics.

JuD ‘teaching’ Islam to Hindu flood victims

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of people, including Hindus, staying in flood relief camps run by a front organization of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Sindh province are being “peppered liberally” with Islamic teachings , according to a report.

About 2,000 living in tents in camps set up by the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation , the relief arm of the JuD, were rescued by the group’s volunteers.

They are provided meals twice a day “peppered liberally with religious teachings” , The Express Tribune reported. “They remind us again and again to offer namaz,” said a man at a relief camp in Badin. He said families have been given copies of the Quran. “Namaz parho, Quran parho, safai karo! (Say your prayers, read the Quran and clean up),” mimicked a refugee.

Courtesy: » TOI

Canadian aid for flood victims in Sindh

Canada provides funds for projects

Islamabad—Canada has announced $11 million for eight new projects in support for those affected by recent monsoon rains and ongoing flooding in southern Pakistan.

According to Canadian Embassy here, an announcement in this regard was made by Minister of International Cooperation Beverley J. Oda in Ottawa.

“Canada is greatly concerned for the people of Pakistan affected by recent severe flooding,” said Minister Oda.

“We are responding to emergency appeals by humanitarian organizations and will continue to monitor this evolving situation to ensure Canada is supporting those who need it the most.” Heavy monsoon rains that began in mid-August have led to extensive flooding in Pakistan, primarily in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. The United Nations reports that approximately 5.8 million people have been affected by the rains and ongoing flooding, with close to 1.8 million displaced and living in extremely difficult conditions. …

Read more » Pakistan Observer

Members of US Congress Pledge Support for Flood Victims in Sindh

– Several Members of US Congress Pledge Support for Flood Victims in Sindh – SAPAC Advocacy Campaign

By Khalid Hashmani

A two-day event dedicated to the flood victims in Sindh by Sindhi-American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was hugely successful. The event was held in Washington DC from October 13 and October 14, 2011. The activities were held in several locations around the US congressional offices. The Sindhi-American community was joined by their friends participated in this focused campaign to draw attention of the US government and the US legislature to the destruction caused by recent floods in Sindh province of Pakistan. They urged members of congress for immediate help to the flood victims. The campaign began with meetings with the staff of 100 Congress members and cumulated in a congressional briefing with testimony from several academicians and NGO officials with eyewitness accounts. …

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 16, 2011.

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship: How flood aid is of humanitarian and U.S. national security interest

Washington, D.C., Oct. 7, 2011 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus will host a congressional briefing at the Capitol Hill in room HC-5 on October 13, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m. The topics for discussion at the briefing will be the current floods in Sindh, the U.S. – Pakistan relationship, and U.S. aid and assistance in the Sindh Province in regards to the floods.

Heavy monsoon rains in early August have devastated the Sindh region of Pakistan. Sixteen of the 23 districts in Sindh have been affected with over 1.7 million acres of standing crops, the Sindhis main source of livelihood, destroyed. More than 270 deaths have been reported and more than 6 million people have been displaced or directly affected by flood waters. Currently, there are 700,000 people living in temporary sites and 280,000 have been relocated to 1,800 relief camps within Sindh. There have been 120,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children who have been directly affected by the floods and more than 2 million people are suffering from flood-related diseases. Thousands of flood victims need relief and aid, but the slow and limited response of the Pakistani government and the international community has left a gap that is being filled by Islamist terrorist organizations like Jamaat-ud-dawa.

As the Sindhi people are a peaceful people, wanting a region that is accepting of religions and cultures, they stand as a crucial ally to the United States in this vulnerable region in the world. The briefing will bring to light the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the United States and the Sindhis and the Sindh region and how flood relief is of importance in this endeavor.

Speakers at the briefing will include Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, teaches Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Louis Flam, professor of archaeology, paleoecology, geo-archaeology and South Asian Studies at the City University of New York, Dr. Geeta Chainani, President and co-founder of Life Bridge US, and Dr. Gul Agha, professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Courtesy: » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 8, 2011.

Millions at risk in Sindh

Millions at risk: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then seek aid says WFP

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then get the attention of the international community, stressed the World Food Programme’s Ramiro Lopes da Silva on Monday, while warning that millions of lives are at stake in Sindh unless more attention is paid to mobilising resources.

The situation is alarming but hasn’t received the attention it deserves, the deputy executive director remarked at a press briefing on Monday. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

350 deaths, 700,000 in Refuge camps, 1.5 million homes destroyed, 2.4 millions are severely affected by food insecurity in Sindh

– Pakistanis at risk over world inaction on floods: WFP

byAFP

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations warned on Monday that the international community had failed to respond to the latest flooding crisis in Pakistan, leaving three million people in urgent need of food handouts.

The nuclear-armed Muslim state has suffered two consecutive years of floods but has been at increasing risk of international isolation since US troops found and killed Osama bin Laden near the capital in May.

“Somehow the present flooding and the humanitarian impact of the present flooding has not yet picked the interest, the focus of the world,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

“If we have no resources, we have no response,” he told a news conference in Islamabad after visiting the flood-hit southern province of Sindh.

On September 18, the United Nations led an appeal for dollar 357 million in emergency funding to shore up rescue and relief efforts for millions of people suffering after floods swept away homes and farm land in southern Pakistan.

“The funding is not coming as swiftly and as fast at the levels it came to the response of the floods of last year,” said Lopes da Silva.

“Donors are being challenged by the level of resources required to address similar needs of humanitarian situations across the world,” he added.

Last month, the United Nations said only the Japanese government had pledged dollar 10 million in response to the appeal. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Dr. Geeta Chainani to join panel at congressional briefing

– Dr. Geeta Chainani, Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, Dr. Louis Flam, Dr. Gul Agha to join panel at congressional briefing Hosted by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus. Date/Time: October 13, 2:00p.m. – 4:00p.m. Place: Capitol, room HC-5.

Beginning in August, the monsoon season hit Pakistan and has come to devastate the province of Sindh. With over 5 million people affected, including 2 million homeless and hundreds dead, the people of Sindh remain in a precarious situation. With little aid and relief, the Sindhi people are suffering from diseases, loss of livelihood, and nowhere to go.Join us to learn more about the Sindh, who the people are, and most importantly, how the Sindh region plays a crucial part in the United States’ relationship with Pakistan and its security.

BBC – Pakistan is ‘failing’ the flood victims of Sindh

– Is Pakistan ‘failing’ the people hit by the floods?

By Aleem Maqbool

Pakistan’s most needy are being left to fend for themselves after flooding devastated much of southern Sindh province.

It is astonishing and depressing that this is all happening again. Only this time, for the people of southern Pakistan, things appear even worse.

In travelling the vast flood-hit areas as we have been doing, what is striking this year, as compared to last, is the massive number of people who tell us they have had no help at all – not from aid agencies, not from the army and not from the government of Pakistan. ….

Read more → BBC

Pakistan’s Dalits denied flood relief because of caste discrimination

– Desperately needed shelter and relief items are not reaching hundreds of thousands of Dalits who are left homeless after the severe flooding in Pakistan’s Sindh province. Dalits are being discriminated against because their caste relegates them to the bottom of the social order in Pakistan and ‘untouchability practices’ exclude them from sharing the same shelters as other members of society.

The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste, creed or religion is “Unacceptable” and has called for a report from the provincial government on the situation. ….

Read more → IDSN

Army wants Rangers’ operation to continue

– By Shamim-ur-Rahman and Baqir Sajjad Syed

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was briefed on Wednesday on the overall security situation in Karachi, an ISPR press release said.

The COAS, who visited the Corps Headquarters here, was also briefed on the flood situation in Sindh and the rescue and relief efforts being undertaken by the army.

A delegation of notables from the business community of Karachi also called on Gen Kayani and apprised him of their concern over effects of the law and order situation on business and industrial activities in the city.

Corps Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir ul Islam also attended the meeting.

Anticipating an early end to Karachi operation, the army has cautioned the government that the city could once again descend into lawlessness if special powers for Rangers were withdrawn.

“Progress in Karachi is reversible and operation being conducted by Rangers must continue,” a military official told Dawn on Wednesday.

He was speaking after Gen Kayani attended a briefing in Karachi on the ongoing Rangers’ operation against target killers, extortionists and terrorist groups.

The government has already said it will not extend the operation beyond the mandated period. It appeared from conversation with some military officers, who attended the briefing, that the government could end the operation prematurely and again hand over the responsibility of maintaining peace in the city to police, citing improvement in situation.

The army is, however, not ready to trust the city’s police, which is considered to be highly politicised and lacking the capacity to effectively act against all terrorists. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

The wretched of Sindh – by Asghar Soomro

 …. Last year, donors generously funded the relief work but they must have been shocked to see the way it was managed. Donated materials included food and non-food items, which generally did not reach the needy people on merit. A lot of it was openly sold in the markets or distributed among party loyalists. Moreover, in some places, it was dumped without any reason.

For example, in district Dadu, more than 10,000 mineral water bottles, 12,000 blankets, thousands of warm clothes and drinking water tanks have been destroyed by the recent heavy rains in the area. They did not distribute the items among the people, letting them rot away since last year’s floods in the district. This is a criminal act. ….

Read more → Daily Times

Do not invite nature’s wrath

– By Dr. Manzur Ejaz, DAWN.COM

To describe the irreversibility of events and the determination of socio-historic forces, Waris Shah’s favorite expression was “Vagan paiy dariya na kadi murrde” (The rivers bent on flowing cannot be stopped).

For the last few years Pakistan’s rivers are honouring Waris Shah’s depiction when, in monsoon season, they reclaim the paths that have been usurped by human intruders by way of a quickly multiplying population, anarchy, and lack of governance. The rivers are giving an early warning to every Pakistani that if you mutilate nature, then it will take a very cruel revenge one day. And nature’s revenge is so tough that if the earthquake in the Washington DC area last month had lasted 20 more seconds, very few people would have been left to tell the story.

It cannot be determined if Pakistan and many other such countries have ever been more brutal to nature or with their fellow human beings. In both cases the end result is widespread destruction: probably more people perish and suffer because of floods and their intervention in nature than by jihadi terrorists and sectarian/mafia gangs. It seems like there is a correlation between these both types of brutalities: both are product of irrational approach to earth and the beings that occupy it.

Unlike scientific debates about human- induced global warming, Pakistan’s case is very simple and self evident. An unplanned population has encroached every inch of space that has become the cause of incessant devastations. Since the hapless crowds encroached on reserved lands, drainage and river beds, the monsoon water has no other way but to destroy what comes in its way. Untill the 70s every village, town, city or desert area had natural passages in case of heavy rain and floods. Now, there is hardly any village or town that has not blocked the flow of rain water: raised paved roads everywhere has created a situation in which heavy rains turn the whole village or town into a dirty water pond that can only breed diseases.

People have encroached river beds, and not only cultivate there, but have made brick houses as well. Given the Indus Water Basin Treaty in Pakistan’s rivers like Ravi and Sutlej, there is hardly any water during the winter but that does not mean that they will be dry in monsoons as well. If India does not utilise most of monsoon water to fill its dams built on Ravi and Sutlej, most of central and western Punjab will be drowned by floods. India has no choice but to release water after its dams are filled. And, taking the worst scenario of evil Indian intentions that Pakistanis assume anyway, if instead of filling its dams it lets the excessive water flow, areas around Ravi and Sutlej will see a great human tragedy because of hurdles created in the river beds.

Of course the monsoon and floods are seasonal hazards, but during the rest of the year the situation is very grave though not dramatic to capture the attention of media or the governments. How can the localities handle heavy rains and floods when they cannot handle the sewerage water? Sewerage disposal is handled so badly that it keeps on spreading diseases and killing hundreds of thousands of people every year, specifically in the rural areas. Either it creates ponds of dirty water in the streets or it is disposed off in the irrigation channels. For example, the Lower Bari Doab canal water that reaches the fields in Sahiwal or beyond is heavily polluted with sewerage water: right from its beginning (or even before from Ravi river) every city, town and village drops sewerage in the irrigation distributaries and watercourses. By the time it reaches the crops it has more than half of filth resulting in disease enhancing crops consumed by humans. In addition, such polluted water seeps down to underground water making it extremely harmful for human consumption. No wonder, water borne diseases are so common in Pakistan.

Somehow poor Pakistanis will get through this devastating period of heavy rains and floods, but a lesson has to be learnt: every locality should have a permanent arrangement of drainage of sewerage and excessive water. There are many countries where it rains all year long but they have made befitting arrangements and months of rain do not disrupt normal life.

In Pakistan, instead of making better arrangements for excessive water discharge, human encroachments have blocked the old drainage systems. Pakistan‘s government, at all levels, should take sewerage disposal and water drainage its top development priority. Every locality, small villages or big cities, should be mandated to have drainage systems ready before next monsoon. The developers and constructors, whether building residential dwellings or making metal roads should have a legal binding and liability to first make safe drainage system before they do anything else. Communities should be made liable through legislation, if there is none already, to take collective responsibility for making arrangements of disposing of sewerage and rain water. A compulsory drainage disposal fee should be charged as part of land revenue or property taxes.

One does not have to be a lawyer or a judge to figure out that harming others, as individuals or communities, is violation of human rights and safety. Polluting streets and waterways with sewerage does just that: harm others. Therefore, if the government(s) does not take necessary action then the highest courts should take a suo-moto action to protect the whole Pakistani society. Furthermore, if suicide is a liable act then proliferating sewerage fits this category of crime too. If no one does anything then nature will punish in a way it is doing at the present time.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

VIA → WICHAAR.COM

MQM involvement in 12th May incident – WikiLeaks

The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → Duniya News Tv (Crossfire With Mehar Bukhari – 20th September 2011)

via → ZemTvYouTube

Sindh in malnutrition hotspots, says report

– ISLAMABAD – The National Nutrition Survey (NNS 2011), which was launched on Saturday, showed that Sindh had one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country.

In Sindh 17.5 per cent of children under five years suffer from acute malnutrition, nearly seven per cent being severely malnourished. These results are way above WHO’s emergency threshold of 15 per cent, which indicates a critical nutrition situation. In addition, half of all children are stunted, a sign of long-term malnutrition.

The NNS 2011 also reports Sindh as the province with the highest proportion of food insecure people. Nearly 72 per cent of the population is food insecure and do not have access to enough food.

The situation can only be expected to get worse with the onset of current floods and the resulting loss of property, food stocks and the damage to standing crops. Last year’s post-flood nutrition survey had reported acute malnutrition rates as high as 23.1 per cent in the affected areas of Sindh. ….

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started distribution of food in the flood-affected areas of lower Sindh and is scaling up its efforts rapidly. “The WFP is taking practical steps to stabilise and improve the nutritional levels of the affected population. …

Read more → The Nation
http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Islamabad/18-Sep-2011/Sindh-in-malnutrition-hotspots-says-report

Join Sindhi Americans (SAPAC’s) Dinner Dedicated to 2011 Flood Victims

– Four members of Congress to speak at SAPAC’s Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner

Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2011 – Congressman Brad Sherman and Congressman Dan Burton, co-chairs of the Congressional Sindh Caucus, Congressman Adam Schiff, first member of the Congressional Sindh Caucus, and Senator Robert Menendez will be special guest speakers at the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner, dedicated to victims of the 2011 floods in Sindh, at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington D.C. at 7:00 P.M. on October 13, 2011. Other special guest speakers will include Dr. Gul Agha, professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and Dr. Harold Gould, visiting scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Virginia.

SAPAC’s Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner will bring Sindhi Americans throughout the nation together to discuss topics relating to Sindhi Americans and issues within the Sindh region. Topics will include the state of U.S. relations with Pakistan, countering militancy through indigenous Sufi beliefs, Sindhi language programming on the Voice of America, Advancement of Women’s health and education in Sindh, Protecting religious minorities from state persecution and terrorism, recent flooding in Sindh, and the history, journey and present status of African Sindhis.

Dinner for the event is $75 per guest with all proceeds going directly to SAPAC and its continuing efforts on behalf of advancing the cause of Sindhis. If interested in attending, please RSVP by September 19th to Mr. Munawar Laghari, SAPAC Executive Director, by phone at (202) 496-5300 or by e-mail at sapac.sindh@gmail.com. Space is limited.

Federal Law requires that all contributions to SAPAC must be from United States citizens or permanent residents only. Contributions from Federal Employees are strictly prohibited. We cannot accept corporate or business checks.

Dr. Geet: Yankee doctor, speaking Sindhi, in the flood zone of Sindh

– Dr. Geet: Yankee doc, speaking Sindhi, in the flood zone

SINDH : KARACHI — Dr. Geet Chainani is the young American dream I hadn’t counted on meeting in Pakistan this summer. She’s a Yank born in India, raised in New York City, trained as a medical doctor in the Caribbean. And for most of a year now she’s been treating families, especially children, in the tent cities of the flood waters of the Indus River, upstream from Karachi. When we met, almost by chance, my first thought was: this is an American vision to be shared — of the trans-nation at its best, at home in the world, our useful hands-on gifts being shared, as if it came naturally.

Geet Chainani grew up on Staten Island with a grandmother who told her “we were Sindhis first.” Meaning: master the Sindhi language early; think of yourself as a child of the world’s first big-city culture, at Mohenjo-daro, from 2600 B.C. Her grandparents were part of the vast Hindu migration out of Sindh to India in 1947, at the partition that created Pakistan. But Sindh was where Geet came looking for her roots a year ago — for the tombs of the Sufi saints and the world’s oldest plumbing. The first big shock was Pakistan’s devastation by immersion. The second, when she pitched herself into the emergency, was discovering, with mothers in distress, that knowing their language was as valuable as her medical training.

All that in a woman who sounds to us, as I said, so New York. “I am very New York!” she laughed. “Being American is the ground for the work I do — the fundamental belief that all men are created equal. In the Preamble, you know… People say to me now: so you picked Sindh, and you’re saving these people. I’m, like: No. It [SINDH] picked me. And they’re saving me.”

Courtesy: → RadioOpenSource

The above news adopted from Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 24, 2011.

Flooding makes 60,000 homeless in Sindh

SINDH – KARACHI: Devastating rains have triggered floods in southern Pakistan, affecting at least 700,000 people and forcing 60,000 from their homes, officials said Wednesday.

Villages have been flooded and crops destroyed in Pakistan’s Sindh province, one of the worst-hit areas in the unprecedented floods of 2010 that affected 21 million people and caused losses of $10 billion.

“At least 700,000 people have been affected by the floods caused by the recent rains in the six districts of Sindh province,” Sajjad Haider Shah, an official in the provincial disaster management authority, told AFP. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk

‘Flood-hit women abandoned by govt, relief agencies

SINDH: KARACHI – The worst victims of the last year’s flood have been the women of the province as the government and other relief agencies did not give them priority while their issues still remain largely unaddressed.

This was pointed out by speakers at a dialogue held on women rights hosted by women wing of Sindhi Association of North America. SANA vice-president Noor Nisa Ghanghro presided over the session, which was attended by a large number of political and women rights’ activists.

The speakers emphasised that all poverty-alleviation programmes must address the gender poverty issue while particularly focusing on rural women

Expressing grave concern over a recent report from the flood-hit areas of Sindh that over a million rural women were suffering from blood anaemia, they demanded that the authorities concerned should take the issue seriously and immediately help the womenfolk of the province. …

Read more : Pakistan Today

This is how the poor people of Pakistan subsidized the Millionaire/ Billionaire ruling elite of Pakistan

Pakistan’s Federal Assembly Canteen price list: Tea Rs.1.00, Chicken Soup Rs.5.50, Dal Rs.1.50, Meals Rs.2.00, Chappati Rs.1.00, Dosa Rs.4.00, Veg Briyani Rs.8.00, Fish Rs.13.00. The language of the program is urdu/ Hindi.

Courtesy: Dunya TV (Program Hasb e Haal with Sohail Ahmed, Junaid Saleem and Najia Baig)

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